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COVID-19 State Regulations in the Mid-Atlantic

Emily Hartman /

[Updated 9/8/20]

Below is a round-up of COVID-19 state regulations for employers navigating how their business will get back to work. If you believe there may be a discrepancy between a state and local order that affects you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

We’ll keep this updated as much as we can, but double-check with the local governments to ensure you’ve got the latest information.

Delaware COVID-19 State Regulations

Delaware’s Economic Reopening Plan

Update 9/4/20: Governor Carney issued an Omnibus Executive Order on COVID-19, the 27th Modification of the Declaration of the State of Emergency, to combine all Executive Orders, including face covering requirements. The order requires stricter enforcement of face covering requirements by employers, including written health care professional notes explaining exemptions. It provides additional guidance for gyms and restaurants. Bars located in Delaware beach properties may reopen on September 5, 2020, with strict precautions including reservations for bar service.

Update 07/10/20: Delaware is paused in Phase 2 and will not move to Phase 3.

Update 7/7/20: Delaware’s State of Emergency has been extended.

Update 6/24/20: The 22nd Modification of the Declaration of A State of Emergency provides guidance on the start of youth outdoor sports and adult recreational sports starting June 20, 2020, and the operation of personal care services at 60% capacity, and indoor play areas for children at 30% capacity starting June 22, 2020.

Update 6/15/20: As Delaware moved into Phase II or reopening, two resources were released to help guide residents and businesses: Delaware’s Reopening Phase 2 and Phase 2: June 15, 2020

Update 6/4/20: 20th Modification of the Declaration of A State of Emergency provides guidance on Phase I until June 15, 2020, limiting gatherings of 10 or more people as well as limited services for certain businesses. Delaware will move to Phase II beginning June 15, 2020; Delaware’s Reopening for Phase 2 provides general and specific industry guidance, beginning on page 7. For example, restaurants, retail, and other businesses to reopen at 60% capacity.

Update: 19th Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency allowing outdoor dining provided that health and safety requirements are met and allowing businesses like museums, casinos, retail stores, and malls to reopen at 30% capacity. Additional industry-specific guidance is included in the Order.

Although Delaware’s Stay-At-Home Order has been extended to May 31, 2020, Governor John Carney announced Delaware’s Reopening plan with additional guidance for employers targeting Phase I of reopening for June 1, 2020. Employers can find industry-specific guidance in the Reopening plan, starting on page 14.

In the meantime, interim steps have already started for retail businesses and salons. Farmers markets, ice cream trucks and shops began opening on May 15, 2020. Beginning May 22, 2020, beaches and community pools will begin reopening.

Additional Resources

Delaware Economic Reopening Guidance

Delaware’s Recovery and Reopening

Delaware’s Response to COVID-19

Seventeenth Modification Of The Declaration Of A State Of Emergency For The State Of Delaware Due To A Public Health Threat

Delaware Public Health Emergency Orders

Face Covering Mandate

Starting April 28, 2020, all residents must wear a fabric or soft cloth face covering when in public, including when using public transportation or ride-sharing.

For employees that work with the public, businesses must provide face coverings and hand sanitizer to employees by May 1, 2020. Employees that interact within 6 feet of other people must also wear face coverings. Businesses may deny entry to a customer that isn’t wearing a face mask. A face covering may include scarves or bandanas.

Update 8/26/20: The Delaware Division of Public Health published guidance for children wearing face coverings.

Update 7/7/20: The state of emergency was extended through the Twenty Third Modification of a State of Emergency.

Additional Resources

13th Modification to the Declaration of the State of Emergency

Delaware Guide for Face Coverings

Shelter in Place Order

Who: Delaware employers

When: March 24, 2020 through May 15 or until COVID-19 is eliminated

What: Delaware Governor John Carney issued modifications four and five to the Declaration of a State of Emergency for Delaware. The fourth modification defines what businesses are “essential” and “non-essential.” The fifth modification requires all persons to shelter-in-place in their residences and bans all travel except for “Essential Travel” and travel for “Essential Activities.” Only businesses that are “essential to health,” like pharmacies and grocery stores will remain open during the shelter-in-place directive. The businesses that remain open must ensure a safe working environment for employees. It should be noted that while auto dealerships may close, automotive repair has been listed as essential. The full list of essential and non-essential businesses can be found here.

How:

  • Carefully review the essential businesses list. Consult with legal counsel to determine your business’s course of action.
  • Identify employees that can work from home and how to implement a remote work program. Communicate with employees the remote work program.
  • If your business is considered essential, determine how best to keep your employees safe, through proper hygiene, social distancing, etc.
  • If you can’t continue to employ your workers, work with legal consult to review your employment decisions and how you can best support workers who may be laid off, furloughed, or terminated.

Additional Resources

State of Delaware Department of Human Resources Coronavirus FAQs

Delaware.gov for Businesses

Governor Carney’s Fourth Modification of the Emergency Declaration

Governor Carney’s Fifth Modification of the Emergency Declaration

Washington, D.C. COVID-19 State Regulations

ReOpen DC

On June 22, 2020, Washington, D.C. entered Phase 2 of reopening and included certain provisions like limiting gatherings to less than 50 people and allowing retail businesses and restaurant indoor dining to operate at 50% occupancy, personal care services. Industry-specific guidance for Phase II can be found here. Mayor Bowser’s presentation provides additional information.

Reopening begins on May 29, 2020, per Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Order 2020-067. Phase I details can be found here. The ReOpen DC Advisory Group’s Recommended Plan will reopen the District in four stages.

Additional Resources

Phase One and Health Guidelines Website

ReOpen DC Advisory Group Website

ReOpen DC Advisory Group’s Recommended Plan

Mayor’s Order 2020-067

Face Covering Mandate

Through June  8, 2020, employees, customers, and visitors of hotels, grocery and food market businesses, taxis, ride-sharing companies, or other private transportation providers are required to wear a mask or face covering.

Additional Resources

Mayor’s Order 2020-066

District of Columbia Executive Orders

District of Columbia Health Notices

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Washington, D.C. employers and employees

When: April 1, 2020 to April 24, 2020 (Update: Extended to June 8, 2020 through a revised Executive Order)

What:

Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an executive order for District residents to stay at home and to only leave their residences to:

  • Engage in “Essential Activities” (obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods);
  • Care for oneself, family member, or pet;
  • Visit a health care professional;
  • Work for an essential business or maintaining basic operations for a non-essential business;
  • Perform or access essential government functions;
  • Engage in essential travel; or
  • Engage in allowable recreational activities like running, walking, hiking, or other activities as long as it meets social distancing requirements.

Although much of this Executive Order maintains previous guidance about businesses (see our guidance from the order to close non-essential businesses), there are some distinctions to be aware about:

  • People may leave their homes to perform work at Essential Businesses, gather supplies to telework, or conduct Minimum Basic Operations at Non-Essential Businesses; social distancing must be maintained.
  • Essential Businesses are required to have a plan, available upon request from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, for how it will comply with the social distancing requirements and decrease any personal contact.
  • Non-Essential Businesses must have operational plans and explanations readily available upon request for how they are maintaining Minimum Basic Operations.
  • Any businesses that expect an occupancy of 10 or more people are required to prominently display a copy of the social distancing requirements.

Penalties can be issued to businesses that violate the order, with fines of up to $1,000 per day or $5,000 per day for operating when the business should be closed. Individuals who violate the order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.

How:

  • Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • If you are maintaining Minimum Basic Operations, draft and formalize a plan outlining the operations and ensure it meets the requirements.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Government of the District of Columbia

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Stay-At-Home Order

District of Columbia Resources

FMLA and Unemployment Insurance

Who: Washington, D.C. employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Update 7/10/20: The Act was has been extended to October 31, 2020.

The District of Columbia passed the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act (the “Act”). The Act expanded the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) by creating a new category, declaration of emergency (DOE) leave.  DOE leave includes all employers in the District, regardless of the number of employees. Employees may use the DOE when they are unable to work during a public health emergency, as declared by the Mayor or other federal or state official, or if a medical professional has recommended that they employee isolate or quarantine themselves. DOE leave also does not require the 1 year of employment and 1,000 hours of work for eligibility that is normally required under the DCFMLA. The covered leave is indefinite during the public health emergency.

The Act also expanded Unemployment Insurance eligibility to employees who, following the Mayor’s declaration of a public health emergency, have been ordered to isolate or quarantine themselves by a federal or District agency or medical professional, or have decided to quarantine or isolate themselves consistent with recommendations from the Department of Health or other federal agency. Employees don’t need to certify that they are actively seeking employment under these conditions.

Additionally, unemployment benefits can be used if the employer doesn’t know when the employee can return to work or if the employee has reason to doubt that they will ever be able to resume employment with their employer. This expansion of rights is effective as long as the public health emergency remains in effect.

The Act also creates additional provisions and protections like:

  • A small business grant program for nonprofits, local businesses, and independent contracts who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance;
  • A ban on evictions and late fees for residential and commercial tenants;
  • A ban on utility shut offs and the extension of public benefit programs;
  • Placing limitations on price gouging and stockpiling;
  • Allowing for delivery and carry-out sales for restaurants;
  • Delays of retail sales tax payments by stores, restaurants, and the extension of corporate taxing filings, divers licenses, etc.

Update: Under B23-0718 – COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020, employers must post in a conspicuous place the COVID-19 FMLA Posters (see below), which are effective until June 15, 2020. B23-0733 – COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 was issued in April and is effective until July 20, 2020.

How:

Inform your employees about the District’s expansion of the FMLA and how they can use these resources, should they need them.

As you continue to make your business decisions, inform your employees about their options for unemployment insurance as appropriate.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act

DC Family and Medical Leave Act during COVID-19 Poster (English)

DC Family and Medical Leave Act during COVID-19 Poster (Spanish)

Non-Essential Businesses Closed

Who: Washington, D.C. employers

When: March 25, 2020 through April 24, 2020

What:

Mayor Bowser has issued an Executive Order banning gatherings of 10 or more people and the temporary closure of non-essential businesses. Those non-essential businesses include:

  • Tour guide services
  • Gyms, health clubs, spas, massage facilities
  • Theaters, auditoriums
  • Nightclubs
  • Hair, nail, and tanning salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors
  • Retail not related to essential services
  • Professional services that aren’t involved in supporting essential business operations

These facilities may keep minimum basic operations like maintaining inventory, security, payroll, employee benefits, and supporting telework.

Essential businesses include:

  • Health care and public health
  • Essential infrastructure like public works, utilities, and solid waste
  • Food and household products and services
  • Social services
  • Communications and information technology
  • Energy and automotive, including gas stations, auto repair, and auto supply stores
  • Educational institutions
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Construction and building for the development and maintenance of commercial and residential buildings and homes.
  • Housing and living facilities
  • Professional services like legal, insurance, accounting
  • Child care facilities
  • Government workers including the fire department, police department, and emergency workers

All businesses may continue teleworking. For employees that must be onsite, they must comply with social distancing of at least 6 feet, and workplace and personal hygiene requirements.

How:

  • Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Executive Order No. 2020-053

Closure of Non-Essential Businesses

Government of the District of Columbia

District of Columbia Department of Health

Maryland COVID-19 State Regulations

Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery

Governor Larry Hogan released a Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery to outline the 3-phased approach. Four criteria must be met before the next phase begins and restrictions lift. Some of the details of each phase include:

  • Phase 1: Small retail stores, outdoor activities, and low-risk community activities could resume.
  • Phase 2: The number of people per gathering could be raised so that more businesses and activities, like day care centers and religious services, could resume.
  • Phase 3: Large events and social gatherings would begin.

Update 9/2/20: Executive Order 20-09-01-01 was issued to announce that the state will begin moving to Stage 3 on September 4, 2020 at 5 pm. Among the changes that will begin under Stage 3 will be moving retail and religious services from 50% to 75% capacity, reopening movie theaters and entertainment venues, jurisdictions will decide on the timing of reopenings.

Update 8/14/20: The Maryland Attorney General released a COVID-19 Employee FAQ to help clarify questions related to paid sick leave, unemployment, and temporary benefits.

Update 6/15/20: Executive Order 20-06-10-01 was issued to expand on Executive Order 20-06-03-01 . Additional recreational businesses may begin reopening on June 12, 2020, like go-kart tracks and amusement parks. Places like bingo halls and bowling alleys may begin reopening on June 19, 2020. Indoor dining services may begin at 50% capacity starting June 12, 2020. Be sure to read the full Order for further details.

Update 6/4/20: Executive Order 20-06-03-01 was issued to begin Stage 2 of reopening on June 5, 2020. Gatherings of 10 people are still prohibited. Religious facilities and retail businesses may begin to reopen at 50% of total capacity and provided that social distancing, hygiene, and sanitation requirements are met. All manufacturing businesses may reopen. Personal care services like hair salons, tattoo parlors, massage services, and tanning salons may begin to reopen provided staff and customers wear face coverings and capacity remains at only 50% of its normal total. Guidance for the food and beverage industry can be found starting on page 5 of the Executive Order as well as additional safety requirements all industries must meet. Additionally, Maryland has published a Back to Business Website for more guidance.

Beginning May 7, 2020, Maryland began to reopen facilities like golf courses, marinas, and campgrounds (see page 7 of Executive Order 20-05-06-01). On May 29, 2020, Executive Order 20-05-27-01 was released allowing restaurants and outdoor activities to reopen with safety measures.

Additional Resources

Maryland Back to Business Website

Governor Of Maryland COVID-19 Resources

Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery

Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery Presentation

Executive Order 20-05-06-01

Outdoor Activities Guidance

Maryland Department of Health

Face Coverings

Update 8/19/20: The previous Executive Order 2020-04-15-01 has been rescinded and replaced with Executive Number 20-7-29-01. All residents ages 5 and older must wear a face covering outside when social distancing requirements can’t be maintained, and when individuals use healthcare services or public transportation, or when interacting with the public, or handling food. Exemptions from the Order can be found on page 10.

Under Executive Order 2020-04-15-01 and effective April 18, 2020, all Marylanders are required to wear face coverings, including cloth, when on public transportation, or when inside retail stores. Retail and food service Employers are required to have employees wear face coverings while working with the public.

Local jurisdictions may have other requirements that should be adhered to.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 2020-04-15-01

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Maryland businesses and employees

When: March 30, 2020

What: Governor Larry Hogan issued an Executive Order for Maryland residents to stay at home except for essential activities, limit gatherings of more than 10 people, and to close non-essential businesses.

Maryland’s list of essential businesses that may remain open is aligned with the  U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Memorandum.

Businesses that aren’t included on the CISA list are considered non-essential and should be closed to the public. There are also certain businesses that are required to close, that list can be found here, starting on page 4. Non-essential businesses may maintain Minimum Basic Operations to support employees’ teleworking, maintain the essential property, preventing loss of, or damage to property, including spoilage of perishable inventory, perform essential administrative functions such as process payroll or picking up mail, care for any living animals, and in the case of retail continue services that can be conducted through delivery.

How:

  • Determine if your business is considered essential or non-essential.
  • Assess whether you can send employees home to telework or maintain Minimum Basic Operations.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 20-03-30-01

U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Memorandum

Maryland Governor COVID-19 Resources

Maryland Health Department

Non-Essential Business Closures

Who: Maryland employers and employees

When: March 23, 2020

What: Governor Larry Hogan issued an Executive Order closing “non-essential” businesses, offering support to small businesses, and prohibiting gatherings larger than 10 people. The Maryland Office of Legal Counsel offered additional guidance regarding what makes up a “non-essential” and “essential” business.

All businesses and facilities that are not part of the critical infrastructure sectors identified by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (known as “non-essential businesses”) must be closed. These businesses include senior centers, restaurants, and bars (carry-out, delivery, and drive-thru is acceptable), fitness centers, theaters, malls, and other recreational establishments, among others.

Essential businesses include:

  • Chemical industry including pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers as well as distributors of chemical and pharmaceuticals;
  • Commercial facilities including but not limited to lodging, building, and property maintenance companies like plumbers, HVAC services, exterminators, roofers, landscapers, and arborists, janitorial services, home improvement stores, laundromats, self-storage facilities, and commercial and residential construction companies;
  • Communications like cable TV companies, media, and internet providers;
  • Critical manufacturing like steel, iron, aluminon products, engines, motors, turbines, generators, power transmission equipment, mining, agricultural and construction equipment, parts for water, electric, and telecommunications infrastructure, land, air, and water vehicles and related parts, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and sanitation equipment and supplies;
  • Defense industrial base sector;
  • Emergency services;
  • Energy sector;
  • Financial services;
  • Food and agricultural services;
  • Government facilities;
  • Health care and public health services;
  • Information technology;
  • Transportation systems sector;
  • Water and wastewater; and
  • Supporting services like staffing, payroll, and essential products, services, or materials.

These businesses are reminded to practice proper social distancing and proper workplace and personal hygiene.

The Governor also announced additional support programs to help small businesses including:

Grants of up to $10,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees for payroll expenses, mortgage payments and utilities. The fund offers low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for businesses with up to 50 employees, starting with zero interest for a limited time.

The Maryland Department of Labor initiated a $7 Million Layoff Aversion Fund for employers to apply for grants up to $50,000 to help minimize the need for layoffs. Applications will be reviewed within 2 days of submission.

How:

Determine whether your business is considered essential. Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.

When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.

If you’re considering a layoff or furlough, consult with your legal counsel to assess whether your business might qualify for one of the state’s grant programs.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Maryland Executive Order

Maryland Department of Health

New Jersey COVID-19 State Regulations

The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health

Update 8/28/20: Executive Order No. 180 was issued to extend the state of emergency for 30 days.

Update 6/23/20: Effective June 22, 2020, under Executive Order No. 156 was issued to expand outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people and indoor gatherings of no more than 100 people.

Update 6/15/20:

  • Effective June 22, 2020, under Executive Order No. 154, personal care services, like hair/nail salons, spas, and barbershops, may begin to reopen, provided they meet with health and safety requirements.
  • Effective June 22, 2020, under Executive Order No. 153, outdoor swimming pools may open, provided they meet health and safety requirements.
  • Effective June, 9 2020, Executive Order No. 152 was issued to expand indoor gatherings to 25% total capacity or no larger than 50 people, provided everyone meets social distancing and face-covering requirements. Outdoor gatherings should be limited to 100 people or less, as long as everyone maintains social distancing requirements and everyone should wear face coverings.

Update: Beginning June 15, 2020, New Jersey will begin Phase II of reopening. The food and beverage industry may begin to reopen in-person outdoor dining under social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene requirements. Additionally, brick-and-mortar locations for non-essential businesses that were closed under Executive Order 107 may begin to reopen, provided they follow social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene requirements. See Executive Order No. 150 for further details, as well Executive Directive 20-014 for detailed protocols on providing outdoor dining, and the State of New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for details about temporary permits.

Update 6/9/20: Executive Order 149 was issued to allow the opening of child care services, youth camps, and organized sports with health and safety limits.

Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 131 to establish a commission and process for reopening the state. The state’s plan, The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health outlines 6 guiding principles to easing restrictions.

Under Executive Order 133, parks and golf courses may begin reopening beginning May 2, 2020, provided that safety measures are enforced.

Guidance for businesses is expected soon.

Additional Resources

New: Ask Your COVID-19 Questions Here

New: When and How Is New Jersey Lifting Restrictions

New Jersey Executive Orders

What mitigation protocols are required for businesses continuing to operate?

Executive Order 133

The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health

Executive Order 131

Face Coverings Mandated

Update 7/8/20: Executive Order 163 was issued to mandate that beginning July 8, 2020, all residents and visitors must wear face coverings in outdoor spaces when social distancing requirements can’t be met and with people who aren’t members of the household. Exceptions to this requirement can be found starting on Page 4 of the Order. Face coverings are still mandated indoors for retail, personal care, transit services, recreational, entertainment and food and beverage establishments.

Governor Phil Murphy issued 2 Executive Orders requiring the use of face masks for certain businesses.

Effective April 10, 2020, Executive Order 122 mandates that essential retail businesses must require employees and customers to wear cloth face coverings. Businesses must provide face coverings and gloves to employees. Manufacturing, warehousing, and other businesses involved in essential construction projects are also required to provide face coverings to employees. Employees and visitors to these businesses are required to wear face masks. All businesses mentioned in the Executive Order must also adhere to other safety requirements.

Effective April 13, 2020, Executive Order 125 mandates that visitors and employees to the NJ TRANSIT, private carriers, and restaurants must require employees and visitors/customers to wear face cloth coverings. These organizations must provide face coverings and gloves to employees.

Additional Resources

New Jersey Executive Orders

Executive Order 122

Executive Order 125

What mitigation protocols are required for businesses continuing to operate?

Partial Business Shutdown

Who: New Jersey employers that aren’t considered essential and residents

When: March 21, 2020

What:

Governor Murphy issued 2 Executive Orders to mandate citizens to stay home, with some necessary exceptions, and the closure or partial closure of some businesses. Additionally, a second order invalidates all conflicting county and local restrictions within the state.

Activities that are still allowed include obtaining medicine, food, supplies, seek medical treatment, care for a family member, or report to an essential workplace.

The physical locations of businesses that aren’t considered essential must close. The following businesses are considered essential:

  • Food and grocery stores
  • Pharmacies and medical supply stores
  • Medical marijuana dispensaries
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Ancillary stores within health care facilities
  • Hardware and home improvement stores
  • Banks and financial businesses
  • Laundromats and laundry services
  • Stores that target children’s supplies
  • Pet stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Car dealerships’ auto maintenance and repair services, auto mechanics
  • Office supply retailers
  • Mail and delivery services

Restaurants and dining services may remain open but only for delivery or carry out. Entertainment and recreational businesses, as well as public and private educational institutions, must close.

The State Director of Emergency Management may edit this list of businesses.

Businesses and nonprofits must allow their workforce to telework wherever it is possible. If employees can’t perform their jobs at home, employers must make the effort to reduce onsite numbers to a minimal number to perform only essential tasks.

How:

Assess your current workforce for who may be able to work remotely or is essential to be onsite.

When you’ve developed a plan to respond to the new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

Executive Order No. 107

Executive Order No. 108

Employee Leave Benefit Guidance

Who: New Jersey employers

When: Effective Immediately

What: The New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) provided COVID-19 related information about benefits and protections to employees. Using different scenarios, the DOL provided the following guidance:

Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms are entitled to use accrued and unused earned sick leave time under the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law. They may also be eligible for temporary disability insurance and workers’ compensation benefits.

For employees’ hours that are reduced by more than 20% per week as a result of COVID-19, they may be eligible for full or partial unemployment benefits.

If an employee is sent home because they may have been exposed to COVID-19, the employee may be eligible or unemployment benefits. This instance would be considered a temporary layoff and these particular employees wouldn’t have to show they’re able to and actively seeking work.

Employees may use accrued, unused earned sick time, if they have been told to quarantine themselves because of COVID-19; are unable to work because a public official closed their workplace or their child’s school or daycare closed, or have to care for a relative with COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.

Employees that are caring for a family member with symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, may be eligible for Family Leave Insurance.

How:

Review your pay and leave practices to ensure they’re compliant.

Consult with legal counsel to review changes you make to your practices to ensure they’re compliant.

As necessary, work and communicate with your employees about their options.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce

State of New Jersey Department of Health

NYS2304

New York COVID-19 State Regulations

New York Forward

Update 6/24/20: Executive Order 205 was issued to take effect on June 25, 2020, for residents to quarantine for 14 days upon their return from states that have COVID-19 rates of over 10%. Those states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

Update 6/18/20: A new Executive Order strengthens enforcement during reopening to ensure business compliance. Phase II Business Guidance can be found here.

Update 6/16/20: Guidance for Phase III was issued and provides industry-specific guidance. Western New York begins Phase III on June 16, 2020, and allows up to 25 people to gather.

Update 6/8/20: Executive Order 202.38 was issued to allow businesses, like retail stores and commercial building owners, to require temperature checks prior to allowing individuals on the premises, open up previously closed restaurants and bars for outdoor dining, increase the number of people at religious services, and non-essential gatherings to 25% of total capacity.

Update 6/4/20: Executive Order 202.36 was released to provide property tax relief for 21 days for people paying the tax without interest or penalties for certain counties listed on the order. It also allows outdoor, low-risk recreation activities for those areas in Phase I that meet public health requirements. It also opens up all hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, other personal care services for those areas in Phase II, provided they continue to meet social distancing, hygiene, and sanitation requirements. Racetracks may also begin to reopen under health and safety requirements starting June 3, 2020. In a news release, Governor Cuomo announced that outdoor dining will reopen under strict health and safety requirements, like required face masks and tables set 6 feet apart, to those areas in Phase II.

Update 6/1/20: Executive Order 202.35 was issued outlining Phase II reopening for Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and the North Country. Restrictions are lifted for certain industries in those areas, like professional services, IT, real estate, hair salons, motor vehicle leasing, rental, and sales. The full list can be found on the Executive Order. Additional guidance for Industries can be found on the Phase II Industries Reopening Guidance.

Although the state remains on PAUSE through May 15, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo released metrics and a 4-phased plan for reopening the state. Called New York Forward, the plan will be to break the state down into 4 regions, with each region needing to complete certain metrics to enter a new phase of reopening. Each phase has industry specific information and employers must have safety measures in place before reopening.

Information regarding Phase I has been released and includes information for manufacturing, retail, construction, fishing, hunting, and wholesale trade businesses that may reopen when the date is announced.

Additional Resources

New: Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work

New: New York Industries Reopening Phase Three Guidance

New York Forward Guide

Moving New York Forward

Phased Plan to Reopen New York

Industries Reopening by Phase

Face Coverings Mandate

Under Executive Order 2020.16, essential businesses must provide employees with face coverings until at least May 12, 2020. Until May 15, 2020, all state residents must wear a face mask in public and on public or private transportation.

Update 6/9/20: Executive Order 202.34 issued to allow business operators to refuse guests who are not wearing face coverings.

Additional Resources

New York What You Need to Know

Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.16

Interim Guidance on Executive Orders 202.17 and 202.18

Executive Order 2020.16

Executive Order 2020.17

Executive Order 2020.18

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: New York employers and employees

When: March 22, 2020 to April 29, 2020 (Update: Extended to May 15, 2020, please Executive Order 202.8)

What:

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the 10-Point Policy that Assures Uniform Safety for Everyone (PAUSE). The policy mandates that all non-essential businesses reduce their onsite workforce by 100% and close in-office personnel functions. This mandate takes the place of the previous Executive Orders’ workforce reduction of 25% and 50%. It still aligns with the Orders’ guidance:

  • All bars, restaurants (except for delivery and carry out), gyms, fitness centers, theaters are all closed.
  • Schools are closed until April 1, 2020.
  • Indoor common areas of shopping malls and indoor/outdoor amusement parks are closed.
  • Barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal care services are closed.

Essential businesses are defined as:

  • Health care facilities;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Retail;
  • Services;
  • Media;
  • Finance;
  • Construction;
  • Defense;
  • Services that support the basic needs of disadvantaged populations;
  • Utilities or services related to safety, sanitation, and essential operations to support residences and other essential businesses; and
  • Vendors that provide essential products, including logistics and technology support, and child care.

Any entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subjected to the in-person work restriction but may operate at a level necessary to provide such services or functions. Any essential business employees that will be onsite, must follow social distances of at least 6 feet and practice workplace and personal hygiene.

Businesses may ask for an opinion from the Empire State Development Corporation about whether the business is considered essential.

Businesses that violate this order could be held liable and receive penalties of up for $2,000 for every violation and up to $5,000 for people who violate the order multiple times.

How:

Assess your business is considered essential and if you need to send employees home to telework.

When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.

Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.

Additional Resources

New York State Guide To Determine Whether A Business is Subject to Workforce Reduction Under Executive Order 202.6

Executive Order 202.6

Executive Order 202.8

Executive Order 202.13

Job Protections and Paid Sick Leave

Who: New York employers and employees

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Update 6/30/20: Executive Order 202.45 was issued to exclude employees who voluntarily travel to high-risk states after June 25 will not be eligible for paid sick leave benefits, unless the travel is for work-related reasons. View the press release.

To support employees that have been quarantined or isolated because of a COVID-19 government order, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature have agreed to a bill that expands paid and unpaid leave for employees:

Employers with 10 or fewer employees as of 1/1/20 must provide unpaid sick leave until the quarantine/isolation order ends. These employees are eligible for the New York State Paid Family Leave and disability benefits during this time.

Employers with 10 or fewer employees as of 1/1/20 with a net income of $1 million or more in the last tax year, or employers between 11-99 employees as of 1/1/20, must provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, followed by unpaid leave until the quarantine/isolation order ends. When the 5 days of paid leave are used, these employees are eligible for the New York State Paid Family Leave and disability benefits.

Employers with 100 or more employees as of 1/1/20 must provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave during the quarantine/isolation followed by unpaid sick leave until the quarantine/isolation order ends.

Exceptions:

If the employee has taken personal travel to any country that the CDC declared a level 2 or 3 travel health notice, and, prior to travel, the employee was provided the health travel notice.

If the employee is still able to work under quarantine or isolation by teleworking and if the employee hasn’t been diagnosed with any medical condition is declared asymptomatic.

Job Protection

If an employee takes leave, they must be restored to their position when the leave is over, with similar pay. Employers can’t discharge, retaliate, or discriminate against employees that have used the protected leave.

Permanent Paid Sick Leave

The bill permanently amends the current New York Labor Law:

Employers with 4 or fewer employees are obligated to provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave each calendar year.

Employers with 5-99 employees, or 4 or fewer employees with a net income of $1 million or more in the last tax year, are obligated up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year.

Employers with 100 employees or more are obligated to provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each calendar year.

Beginning on the first day of employment, each employee must accrue sick leave at a rate of not less than 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers can frontload all of the required sick leave to employees.

Employers should set reasonable time increments for how employees can use sick leave, not exceeding 4 hours. Unused sick leave carries over to the next calendar year, keeping in mind that the employers with less than 100 employees can limit the sick leave to 40 hours per calendar year and employers with 100 employees or more can limit the sick leave up to 56 hours per calendar year. Employers don’t need to pay an employee for unused sick leave when they’re separated from employment.

Reasons for using sick leave

Mental or physical illness, injury, or condition of the employee or a family member, no matter if there is a diagnosis or medical care required at the time of the request.

For the diagnosis, care, preventive care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness or injury of the employee or a family member.

Incidents related to domestic violence, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking where the employee needs to miss work.

How:

Assess and review your current business outlook and work with your legal counsel as you make decisions regarding employment.

Review and update your current sick leave policies and procedures, which may include payroll, to accommodate the permanent changes made to sick leave.

Additional Resources

SB 8091 Paid Sick Leave Bill

Governor Andrew Cuomo Announce Three-Way Agreement with Legislature on Paid Sick Leave Bill to Provide Immediate Assistance for New Yorkers Impacted by COVID-19

New York Guide About COVID-19 Testing, Quarantine, Monitoring

Who: New York employers and residents

When: Effective Immediately

What: Governor Andrew Cuomo released an “Interim Containment Guidance: Precautionary Quarantine, Mandatory Quarantine and Mandatory Isolation for Local Health Departments” to define the above categories and what shelter requirements are necessary for each category. The guidance also gives authority to Local Health Department if it feels its jurisdiction requires additional restrictions, visitations, or additional resources.

For employers, any individual who is under any level of quarantine or isolation is protected from any negative impact on their employment. At the beginning and end of a quarantine/isolation, Local Health Department Commissioners or Public Health Directors can address these concerns. Employers can also contact the New York State Department of Labor.

Categories:

Mandatory Quarantine. Any person who has been within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and not displaying symptoms, or a person who has traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, or Italy and is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Mandatory Isolation. Any person who has tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not the person is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Precautionary Quarantine. Any person who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Has traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, or Italy while COVID-19 was prevalent but isn’t showing symptoms;
  • Has had proximate exposure to a positive person, but not direct contact with a positive person and is not displaying symptoms. Local Health Departments can also place any person under a precautionary quarantine if it is warranted.

How:

Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns about their work functions under quarantine or isolation.

Consult with your legal counsel to ensure any changes you have to make to a worker’s employment status are compliant with state rules.

Additional Resources

New York State Guidance

New York City COVID-19 Resource

Pennsylvania COVID-19 State Regulations

Reopening

Update 9/8/20: Governor Wolf announced that on September 21, 2020, restaurants may begin to expand indoor services to 50% of total capacity, provided that they adhere to strict health and safety guidelines and go through the self-certification process. Restaurants that choose to expand their capacity on September 21, 2020, must self-certify by October 5, 2020. All restaurants will be searchable in the Open and Certified Database. More information can be found on the press release.

Update 7/22/20: Governor Wolf issued an Executive Order Directing Targeted Mitigation Measures taking effect on July 16, 2020. The Order mandates that all businesses must operate remotely, through telework, wherever possible. If telework or remote work isn’t possible, businesses must follow the business safety order, worker safety order, and mask order. The order doesn’t distinguish between life-sustaining or non-life-sustaining businesses, although it appears businesses can make distinctions between employees and positions that can telework. The Order also restricts bars and restaurants to 25% capacity, closes nightclubs, limits indoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, and outdoor gatherings to 250 people.

Update 6/24/20: Through a series of announcements, Governor Tom Wolfe transitioned several counties into the Green Phase of reopening. The website, Responding to COVID-19 details the phase of each county on a map. On June 26, 2020, 12 more counties will move to the Green Phase: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna.

Governor Tom Wolfe announced the state’s reopening plan, which will use 3 phases of Red, Yellow and Green. The state is targeting the Yellow Phase to begin on May 8, 2020, where 24 counties (found here) will begin to reopen. Update: On May 8, 2020, Governor Wolfe and the Secretary of the Department of Health announced that several counties will move to the Yellow Phase. Businesses, like auto dealerships and construction businesses.

The Yellow phase will allow businesses to begin in-person operations as long as they meet building safety measures and in-person safety requirements. Social gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. Restaurants and bars are still limited to delivery and pickup services only, but retail stores may begin limited in-person shopping.

Additional Resources

New: Order of the Secretary of Health Continued Reopening of the Commonwealth (May 29, 2020)

Process to Reopen Pennsylvania

Order of the Secretary of the Penn. Department of Health Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-Person Operations

Order of the Secretary of the Penn. Department of Health Directing Building Safety Measures

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Information for Businesses

Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During COVID-19

Hazard Pay Grants Available

Who: Front-line workers

When: July 16, 2020 through July 31, 2020

What: Up to $50 million in reimbursement-based grants have been made available through the CARES Act to employees in life-sustaining occupations that have been working through the pandemic.

Businesses, health care non-profits, public transportation agencies, certified economic development organizations are all eligible to apply for the grants.

The following industries are eligible for the grants: health care and social assistance, ambulatory care services, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, transportation, food manufacturing, food retail, security services for those industries named above, janitorial services.

Grants may be used for full-time and part-time employees earning $20/hour or less, excluding fringe benefits and overtime for the period between August 16, 2020 to October 24, 2020. Applicants may apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent employee with $3.00 hour hazard pay.

Employers may apply for a grant to provide pay for up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location.

Applications are open from July 16, 2020 through July 31, 2020. Questions may be sent to (717) 787-6245 or ra-dcedcbf@pa.gov

Additional Resources

Electronic Application

Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19

Face Covering Mandate

Starting April 15, 2020, life-sustaining businesses, like grocery stores and hospitals, must protect their employees by providing them with masks that meet the Department of Health and CDC guidelines, in addition to observing other social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene requirements. More information can be found in the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Order.

State residents are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings in public.

Update 7/6/20: The Order of Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Requiring Universal Face Coverings was issued for all residents to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces and outdoor spaces where social distancing requirements can’t be met. Exceptions to the mandate can be found on the Order starting on page 3.

Additional Resources

Pennsylvania Mask Guidance

Pennsylvania Life Sustaining Businesses

Automobile Sales and Construction Details

Automobile Virtual Sales

Through signed legislation, SB 841, vehicles sales can now be conducted online. Dealers must follow a process forpreparing and sending all documents electronically to the customer, remote notarizing, electronic financing applications, adhering to CDC and DOH guidance in hand off or trading of vehicles, among other things.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has outlined best practices for items like pre-verification and ownership transfer that dealers should follow to complete virtual sales.

All details of the information mentioned and more can be found here.

Construction

Beginning May 8, 2020, residential and non-residential construction businesses may begin to reopen, as long as they follow strict guidelines for social distancing, employee number limits, and additional industry specific safety requirements.

Additional Resources

Amendment to the Order of the Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Health Regarding the Closure of all Businesses that Are Not Life Sustaining

Amendment to the Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Health Regarding the Closure of all Businesses that Are Not Life Sustaining

Life Sustaining Business FAQs

SB 841

Stay-At-Home Order

Who: Pennsylvania employers and employees

When: April 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020 (Update: Extended to May 8, 2020, please see the amended Executive Order)

What:

Taking the places of earlier county-specific orders, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced a statewide order for Pennsylvania residents to stay at home except for certain acceptable activities.

Pennsylvania schools and non-life-sustaining businesses will remain closed at this time. All other essential state services will continue to be open.

Acceptable activities include:

  • Maintaining health and safety of oneself, family and/or household members, pets, or family members and pets in other households.
  • Going out to get supplies for oneself, family and/or household members, pets, or volunteering to deliver services or supplies to help others maintain their and household.
  • Outdoor recreation like walking, hiking or running, as long as proper social distancing is maintained.
  • Performing work at a life-sustaining business.
  • Travel involved with any of the above activities as well as traveling to care for vulnerable populations, going to educational institutions to get necessary supplies for distance learning, returning to in-state residence from out-of-state and vice versa, travel required by law or court order, and life-sustaining travel.

The following operations are exempt from the Order:

  • Life-sustaining business services;
  • Health care or service providers;
  • Life-sustaining services for vulnerable populations and low-income residents;
  • Child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses;
  • Media;
  • Law enforcement, emergency services and first responders;
  • The federal government; and
  • Religious institutions.

Additional information about non-life sustaining businesses can be found in the next summary.

How:

  • Determine if your business must close, whether you can send employees home to telework, and how to implement social distancing rules and hygiene safety.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health to Stay At Home Order

Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

Non-Life Sustaining Businesses Order

Who: Pennsylvania employers and employees

When: March 19, 2020

What: Governor Tom Wolfe ordered the closure of all non-life sustaining businesses to close in Pennsylvania until further notice. Violations of this order will be met with citations, license suspensions, administrative actions,  termination of state grants or loans, forfeiture of disaster relief funds, and criminal penalties.

The following industries may keep their physical locations open (this list is subject to change):

  • Natural resources and mining;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Wholesale trade, excluding furniture, lumber, apparel, and electronic wholesalers;
  • Retail trade like automotive stores, grocery stores, beer, wine, liquor stores, gas stations, general stores, electronic and mail-order houses;
  • Transportation and warehousing;
  • Utilities;
  • Information like media, data processing, cable program providers, hosting services;
  • Financial institutions;
  • Professional services like scientific research and development, facilities support, investigation and security, building services, waste management;
  • Health services;
  • Accommodation and food services; and
  • Other services like repair and maintenance services, funeral services, religious, grantmaking, social services, civil and social organizations.

All other businesses can continue to operate remotely.

How:

  • Determine if your business must close, whether you can send employees home to telework, and how to implement social distancing rules and hygiene safety.
  • When you’ve developed a plan to respond to new regulations, consult with your legal counsel to ensure it’s compliant with the state rules.
  • Build a communication strategy to implement these changes in your workforce.
  • Provide support to your employees during this time and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

COVID-19 Business Closure Order

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Non-Life Sustaining Businesses

Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

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